Via Inside the Games
Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) President David Hadfield has claimed that 2016 was the “most successful year yet” in the history of the sport.
Hadfield made the assertion during his New Year’s message to BISFed members, where he looked back on the governing body’s achievements over the past 12 months.
He said that boccia is the “fastest growing” Paralympic sport, while reflecting that the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games “produced the most competitive boccia event yet, with an ever higher level of skill on display to record spectator numbers”.
The governing body’s “Making Boccia Accessible” scheme, which is supported by the International Paralympic Committee’s development arm the Agitos Foundation, UK Sport, GB Boccia and law firm Hogan Lovells, was also reflected upon.
It is claimed the programme, which aims to train “ambassadors” in the sport across the world, has helped to introduce boccia to 23 countries which did not have an active presence.
A total of 10,000 people are believed to have participated in the sport as a result of the scheme, with Hadfield stating that BISFed are seeking additional funding to deliver the next stage of the project.
Bahrain, Costa Rica and India were all welcomed to the fold during 2016, taking the number of total member countries to 57.
The number of world ranking events was quadrupled during the 2013 to 2016 quadrennial, while BISFed developed a software system to help support operations and manage competitions effectively.
The competition management system will be used for the first time this year, with the governing body describing it as “world class”.
Updated rules and new tests for boccia balls are set to be completed before this year’s competition schedule begins, while a coaching pathway is expected to be published later in 2017.
Hadfield also encouraged members to consider candidates for elections to the BISFed Board, with several existing members required to step down when their terms come to an end at the governing body’s General Assembly.
The Assembly will take place in Hong Kong on May 27, following the conclusion of the Asia and Oceania Regional Championships.